So I’ll be posting a battle report later in the week. In the meantime I thought I’d start what I hope will be a series of articles going in depth on various models in the Khador faction. Since Warcasters are the most important pieces, I thought I’d start with those.
I’ll be trying to standardise the format of my articles and to keep pumping them out regularly, but will be talking about whichever caster I am interested in at the time.
So with that intro out of the way, lets leap into my current favourite: Kommander Oleg Strakhov or Strakhov 1 to his friends. Stats below:
Focus 6, Speed 6, Mat 7, Rat 6, Def 15, Arm 16, Cmd 9
Immunity to Corrosion and Fire, Pathfinder
2 ranged weapon, 1 range 6, pow 14, AOE 3, fire type and leaves a cloud; 1 Range 10, Pow 12, ROF d3
1 Melee Weapon, Rng 0.5, P+S 13 with Brutal Charge
Abilities: Alchemical Mask; Resourceful; Sprint; Veteran Leader [Assault Kommandos]
Spells: Battering Ram; Occultation; Overrun; Sentry; Superiority
Feat: +4 Speed, Free and Pathfinder on charges targeting enemy models in Strakhovs Control Area
I have played a ton of Strakhov in mk 3. He is a very different caster to play in Khador, feeling more like a circle caster than a Khador one. His lists tend to focus on speed, whither accelerating slow models or making faster models ridiculous. He provides a constant assassination threat, as he can fling a jack 19 inchs up the board (threating 20/21 depending on weapon range). While you’ll catch newer players with turn 2 kills, the better players will recognise this threat and play accordingly. In turn, this forces some very defensive plays and can be taken advantage of for what I feel is Strakhov’s main battle plan: Board Control.
The speed and defensive tech that Strakhov brings lends itself to taking the board and controlling your opponent through threat ranges. Most Khador lists do not Alpha (except from range) and thus our jacks and infantry are generally built around durability and power. Taking the initial attack and then punching back hard is pretty central to Khadoran list identity. Strakhovs biggest strength then is leveraging these innate traits of Khadoran models and giving them the Alpha strike. Additionally, he allows his Jacks to sudo sprint using overrun, with a Jack charging, killing a target then backing up out of threat.
The price for all this is that Strakhov is very much a mid line caster, He absolutely must play forward, as his feat and spells require it of him. Additionally, he is very focus strapped, usually camping little to nothing turn to turn as he generally wants to be allocatin, casting overrun, toggling upkeeps, etc. And finally, he has no damage fixers at all (other than handing out a free charge).
Despite this, he remains, n my opinion, one of thhe strongest casters in our stable. To mitigate his weaknesses, he is very survivable, with an option for stealth helping him against most gunlines, a high natural stat line (15/16 is good, just ask Vlad 1), in built movement tricks (move him forward, feat, overrun a jack, it kills something and Strakhov overruns back for an example) and his immunities to fire and corrosion protecting him fr the likes of Ravagores and Menoth shooting. This defensive tech also mitigates his lack of turn to turn camp. Finally, Khador jacks are innately high POW and Khador has a wealth of options for cracking armor. Having claimed all that, lets look at a list:
Khador Army – 75 / 75 points
(Strakhov 1) Kommander Oleg Strakhov [+28]
– Behemoth 
– Ruin 
– Torch 
Uhlan Kovnik Markov 
Assault Kommandos (min) 
– Assault Kommando Flame Thrower (3) 
Iron Fang Uhlans (max) 
So first, and most obvious at the moment, it’s not in theme. The reason for this is actually the jack package, so lets start there. It’s an expensive jack package, 60 points for 3 jacks is bonkers money in Khador. The reason for such is that Strakhov runs a good battlegroup, but probably can only really support 3-4 jacks at most. Behemoth is there because he has good guns that can easily trigger overrun and with 3 focus and a free charge he’ll kill most hard targets in the game, especially with the help of the second Jack. Ruin is criminally under-costed in my opinion, and brings several things that Strakhov needs, namely upkeep removal; focus efficiency and 2 inch reach. These things mean that the duo of Ruin and Behemoth will kill pretty much anything in the game, solving Strakhov’s armour cracking problem. Torch is a slightly more varied piece. He is perfectly capable of dealing with lights and infantry, is a surprisingly good assassin, and has a-lot of situational abilities, the funniest of which is sprint. He helps in the cloud wall match up, is immune to most legion and menoth shooting, and can, combined with overrun, end up further back after killing something than he began the turn.
Infantry-wise, the Cavalry are there for 3 reasons. They crack armour, they are natively fast and they have a good stat line that is helped by occultation massively. Putting up occultation on them turn 1 and then running up the board as far as possible means that they are threatening turn 2 charges, making life difficult for many lists, and giving the rest of the list vital room to take control of the board and scenario. Markov is a great piece in addition, giving an additional lance to put into things and being a good way of clearing your Uhlans from jamming units.
The Assault Kommandos are a late edition change, originally being a Drakhun and Widowmakers before the errata that upped Behemoths cost by a point. After much testing, I decided the list needed some infantry clearing capability to free up charge lanes. Between the healing denial, sprays, assault and being rat and mat 7 while within 9 of Strakhov, the Assault Kommandos perform this role well. Additionally, the shield wall, immunities and decent range on their guns, combine to keep them fairly safe from most infantry clearing in the early game.
So overall, this list capitalises on Strakhovs strengths and tries to minimize his weaknesses, being an incredibly fast list that controls the board through sheer threat range. The list is also very fragile, having very little in the way of disposable models. It lives and dies on the edge of threat ranges, with Ruin and Torch charging and overrun back to take enemy pieces without trading, attempting to force a situation where when the list finally commits, after taking pieces and threatening opponents into defensive play, the opponent is unable to retaliate effectively.
Overall then, I am strongly of the opinion that Strakhov is one of the strongest casters in Khador, competing well with the likes of Vlad 1, Butcher 3 and Irusk 2 for the top spot. The combination of threat ranges, survivability and maneuverability give Khador something they did not have in Mk 3, a control caster, albeit one who controls the opponent through threat ranges and movement tricks, rather than through spells or feats.